Public art is seen as a vital building block in creating a strong sense of place and community at Kings Hill. Sculptures are regularly commissioned for prominent sites across the development to encourage pride and attachment in the area.
Variously uplifting, thought-provoking, humorous and eye-catching, the sculptures interconnect the people, the history and the place.
L'Ambiente' by Enzo Torcoletti
Installation: May 1993
'L 'Ambiente' means a place for people'. It consists of Portuguese granite and is made up of six blocks, reaching a height of 45 ft. Granite was chosen as a symbol of permanence, strength and quality. It features prominently at the main entrance to Kings Hill on the A228 roundabout. On 20th May 1993 L'Ambiente was dedicated by the Honourable Lord Palumbo, Chairman of the Arts Council, joined by L'Ambiente's sculptor, Enzo Torcoletti, amid a flurry of blue balloons.
Installation: June 2002
Jointly commissioned by West Malling Airfield Memorial Group, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and Liberty Property Trust UK - commemorating the aviation past of Kings Hill. The memorial honours the military and civilian personnel who were based there throughout the years and comprises a life size bronze sculpture of a running airman surrounded by four vertical granite panels depicting the history of the airfield. A time capsule has been buried in the memorial's foundations put together by children from the Kings Hill School detailing life at Kings Hill at the time of the installation.
Kings Hill: A Place of Landings… public artworks inspired by the Control Tower, its heritage and the community
Installation: August 2014
The artworks comprise 12 brass reliefs, from which brass rubbings can be taken, 11 featuring the planes that were stationed at RAF West Malling (now Kings Hill) and the last relief is of the Magical Mystery Tour bus, marking the day The Beatles came to Kings Hill. Word trails featuring stories, quotes and ideas provided by the community enhance the paving around the retail area in Liberty Square. In front and behind the Control Tower are ambitious, large-scale roundels, embedded in the ground. The RAF roundel explores the language of ‘slang’ used by pilots in WWII and the seating roundel contains anecdotes and memories provided by friends, families and comrades who lived and worked on the airfield during its lifetime. The newly commissioned sculptural seating and planters offer a chance for rest and contemplation.
The artworks were unveiled on 5 September 2014 by the commissioners, Liberty Property Trust UK and Kent County Counci, with help from local historian, Peter Hall, who authenticated the artworks for historical accuracy.
A 'Different Ball Game' by Kevin Atherton
Installation: May 1993
The sculpture consists of a 10ft diameter reflective ball being pushed in different directions by three life-size bronze figures which have been cast from local people.
The sculpture in this form is a comment on human endeavour - the figures are pushing against one another but because of the mirrored surface, are also pushing against themselves and create a tension which keeps the ball in place.
The ball reflects the human energy focusing on the roundabout where the four roads converge. Viewers see themselves in the ball which creates a sense of play.
The three models, which represent the businessman, the mother and the student are Jim Lutz, Senior Vice President at Liberty Property Trust, local mother Ann Cashell and former Liberty Property Trust UK secretary Debbie Penney.
Kevin Atherton and Lord Palumbo unveiled the model of "A Different Ball Game" on 20 May 1993.
'The Golf Wizard' by Tod Brittingham
Installation: Winter 1999
Standing approximately 10 ft high a bronze casting of a humorous, thought provoking nature situated outside the entrance to the Kings Hill Golf club house.
Players are encouraged to offer up a short prayer to the wizard before embarking on their round.
'Tug of War' by W Stanley Proctor
A bronze sculpture featuring six children - three boys and three girls - plus a dog, pulling the rope in a tug of war. It is nearly 20 ft long.
'Memorial to Group Captain Peter Townsend' by Guy Portelli
Townsend Square was the marketing name for a private housing development of 4 and 5 bedroom detached homes at Kings Hill, West Malling, which were completed in the summer of 2002. Hillreed Homes Ltd chose the marketing name because of Group Captain Peter Townsend's close connections to the original West Malling Airfield. During the construction of their homes Hillreed discovered that the new square, where the sculpture now sits, marks the position of the original runway from where many midnight sorties were launched during World War II. They felt that it was of utmost importance to mark this very important historical spot and at the same time commemorate the bravery of our airmen who were England's first line of defence. Hillreed therefore felt it was a natural progression from their original marketing ideas to include Group Captain Peter Townsend as part of the sculpture and after much debate (because he flew so many different types of aircraft) they included a replica of a Hurricane, the aircraft he was most famous for flying. As it was to be seen in an every day domestic environment it was important to create something that lifted the spirit and was also impressive and significant.
'When the sky's the limit the spirits soar' by Rick Kirby
Installation: March 2005
Jointly commissioned by Liberty Property Trust UK and Kent County Council to commemorate and celebrate Bill Rouse's life and achievements. Three stainless steel figures soar skywards in a spirit of celebration. Piercing the space created by the figures is a shaft of stainless steel 'light' which takes the figures out of the courtyard and beyond. The piece is intended to represent dynamism as well as positivism. The figures are both unique and individual, yet have a strength and unity in their linked formation. This is a reference to the community of the area itself, as well as their cohesive partnership with the business aspects of the development. In memory of Bill Rouse III (1942 - 2003)
'Discovery School Sculpture' by Jonathan Hately
Installation: May 2005
To commemorate the opening of the Discovery School, Kings Hill in September 2003, the DfES financed a piece of sculpture. Working with the Local Education Authority and the school, Jonathan Hately was chosen to design a bronze sculpture which could be placed outside the front of the school for pupils, teachers and parents to enjoy. A central part of the design was the Discovery School logo which is an apple embellished with the map of the world. Jonathan designed the sculpture with this as the centre piece with two children either side of it. The children, one boy, Zachary Bevans and one girl, Emma Davies, were randomly selected from the class which was the Foundation class when the school opened. The figures are based on these two children. The sculpture was installed at the front of the school on 10th May 2005 much to the delight of the staff and pupils. The official unveiling of the sculpture took place in July 2005.
'Guardian Figure' by Greg Johns
Installation: October 2010
‘Guardian Figure’, is by Greg Johns, an internationally renowned Australian sculptor. The sculpture was shipped 12,000 miles from Australia and was installed at Kings Hill on the roundabout between Discovery Drive and Beacon Avenue in October 2010.
It is an intriguing geometric form fashioned from weathered steel and its shape appears to change according to the angle from which it is viewed. Each view reveals different aspects of John’s work, making it perfect for positioning on the roundabout.
The sculpture was financed from contributions by the residential developers selling properties at Kings Hill.